Fixing food stamp program isn't a SNAP

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Should food stamp recipients in Missouri be allowed to buy steak and lobster with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards?

How about cookies, chips, energy drinks or soft drinks? Or tattoo parlors or cruise ships?

Well, the dividing line on these questions is getting heated as one bill is proposed in Missouri to limit benefits while another in Kansas has been approved and is awaiting the Governor's signature.

The Missouri bill excluding lobster and steak has no chance of passage. The tattoo prohibition in Kansas may well become law there.

The usual liberal suspects are livid with their disdain of the Missouri proposal. They say the lobster prohibition is "demeaning" to low income recipients.

The heated debate on how to spend food stamp benefits goes back to the 1980s. And now, with almost 50 million Americans receiving the benefits, the volume of the debate has increased.

Behind this national debate on just how to control or rein-in food stamps spending is the core of a national issue that deserves public debate.

If we are to be honest, most of us have stood behind a food stamp recipient in a grocery store and lamented that their purchases - with our tax dollars - are better than we can afford.

I am in no way "demeaning" that EBT card carrier, but I often begrudge that the steak that I cannot afford is in their cart.

Am I wrong to think that way?

Some of the polarization in this great nation stems from the obvious reality that the producers of tax dollars are providing for some luxuries that the producers themselves often can't afford.

The "welfare queen" examples of so many years ago still are present today. A big screen television, by any definition, is a luxury and not a necessity.

The lobster and steak measure in Missouri has no chance of passage.

But the principle behind that measure remains a sticking point in Missouri and throughout the nation.

You would have to look far and wide to find anyone unwilling to provide tax revenue to assure that every American has ample food on their table.

But when you witness what only can be described as an abuse to the program, you wonder why you work as hard to provide for those who fail to work and produce.

Food banks tell us constantly that they provide for those whose food stamps will not stretch far enough to feed their family.

Maybe the problem is not insufficient food stamp payments but rather poor choices by the recipients.

But it's easier today to find a "victim" instead of being honest about the problem.

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